URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: Secret Service Has Seized More ASD Cash; Forfeiture Complaint Filed Today Against Bank Accounts Controlled By Erma ‘Web Room Lady’ Seabaugh And Robyn Lynn Stevenson
BULLETIN: UPDATED 6:27 A.M. ET (U.S.A., DEC. 18) The U.S. Secret Service and federal prosecutors have seized nearly $250,000 from two alleged ASD promoters and filed a new forfeiture complaint dated today.
More than $153,000 has been seized from a bank account controlled by ASD promoter Erma Seabaugh, known as the “Web Room Lady.” Seabaugh was a purported ASD “trainer,” prosecutors said.
She was accused in the complaint of accepting checks made out to ASD, depositing them into her bank account and transferring “ad packs” to her downline by using ASD’s internal system.
Meanwhile, more than $96,000 has been seized from bank accounts controlled by ASD member Robyn Lynn Stevenson, who operated a company known as Robyn Lynn LLC and worked briefly for ASD itself, prosecutors said.
At the same time, investigators seized nearly $500,000 from a bank account once controlled by ASD President Andy Bowdoin and nearly $50,000 from an account controlled by Golden Panda Ad Builder President Clarence Busby.
Busby, prosecutors said, already has ceded the money to the government. The money was ceded in September 2008, about two months after an undercover agent had been invited by an ASD member to listen to Busby talk in July 2008, as Golden Panda was ramping up for its formal launch.
The additional sum of nearly $500,000 ($496,505) seized from Bowdoin was a balance left in an account that once contained more than $31.6 million, prosecutors said. The lion’s share of the money in the account already has been declared forfeited, but agents worked out an agreement with Bank of America to permit about $500,000 to remain in the account on the date of the Aug. 1, 2008, seizure of Bowdoin’s assets.
The buffer was necessary to permit checks already drawn on the account prior to the effective date of the seizure warrant to clear, prosecutors said.
All in all, the forfeiture complaint filed today targeted $794,718 in illegal ASD proceeds, prosecutors said.
The seizure of cash tied to Seabaugh and Stevenson traced its roots to the opening days of 2009, months after the seizure of the lion’s share of money from Bowdoin’s bank accounts, according to the complaint.
On Feb. 26, 2009, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer authorized the seizure of “up to” $213,693 in the name of “Carpe Diem or Erma Seabaugh,” prosecutors said. The seizure occurred one day after Bowdoin had signed a document in which he sought to reverse an earlier decision he made to submit to the forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars in his bank accounts, records show.
When the Secret Service executed the warrant to seize the money from Seabaugh, only $153,097 was found in the account, according to the complaint.
Between July 15 and July 30, 2008 — effectively the two week period leading up to the ASD seizure — Seabaugh received nine ASD checks totaling $203,993, prosecutors said.
On July 25, 2008, just days before the seizure of Bowdoin’s bank accounts, Seabaugh deposited into her bank account seven checks made out to ASD totaling $9,700 prosecutors said.
The checks came from “third parties,” and Seabaugh transferred a corresponding number of “ad packs” to the buyers by using ASD’s internal system, prosecutors said.
“Based on these facts, it appears Ms. Seabaugh was selling her own investment ‘ad packs’ to clients and representing herself as ASD,” prosecutors said.
Seabaugh had at least three ASD accounts and appeared to be using ASD’s “advertising” rotator to sell other pyramid schemes, prosecutors said. All three of the accounts used a form of the “Carpe Diem” name, according to the complaint.
One of Seabaugh’s ASD accounts was opened with a transfer of “ad packs” from La Fuente Dinero, yet-another autosurf scheme tied to ASD, prosecutors said.
Noting that Seabaugh deposited no “new money” into the account, prosecutors said she withdrew $83,994 from the account via checks from ASD.
Seabaugh recruited 48 ASD members, according to the complaint. She withdrew an additional $107,997 from another ASD account.
Stevenson, meanwhile, made only one deposit with ASD — for $500 — and yet received $96,525, prosecutors said. The withdrawals came in the form of 17 checks issued by ASD between July 10 and July 25, 2008, just days before the seizure of ASD’s assets, according to records.
The checks were deposited into two bank accounts that Stevenson opened July 31, 2008, one day before the seizure of Bowdoin’s bank accounts, according to records.
Separately, Bowdoin pleaded not guilty today to criminal charges filed against him in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Prosecutors said he was at the helm of a massive Ponzi scheme that gathered at least $110 million.